I copied this super short story from a scene in a dream I had. I woke with a bubbling feeling, excitement brewing in my belly, and, slowed by heavy eyes and tired fingers, punched it into my phone. I forgot all about and surprised myself a few months later with its discovery… Here it is, Girls Can Punch, by Nick Adigu Burke
The word “Wench” came into Billy’s mind. That word made him laugh. He didn’t really know what it meant, as he began repeating it in the bathroom mirror. He was always doing that – practising words he didn’t know the meaning to.
He knew it was an insult though. He heard his dad shout it at his mum in the heat of one of their street arguments. He rubbed his chin thinking. Or perhaps it was his mum who’d used it, when his dad waddled back drunk from the Duck and Firkin last week. What the hell was a firkin anyway? That sounded funny too. And could it be wielded as an insult he often thought.
“Wench” He said, strong, bold and free in the mirror. He loved the way his lips felt wrapped around the “W” – stiffened lips, bottom and top puckered together in circular motion as though committing to a whistle. Then the “E” exploding out of the “W” like Usain Bolt out of his starting blocks. Now his lips were no longer heavy and puckered, but free, apart and wide, looking almost like a sarcastic smile. Like the fake smile his father uses on family photographs after his mum has moaned for him to smile. The “E” sound was equally as pleasurable as the “W” as too was the crunch of the “NCH”. He loved the way it made his tongue hit the roof of his mouth like a mule kick, and the way his tongue slid down his mouth’s roof like a downhill skier. Sliding toward the back of his bucked-teeth for the finale. That finale misting his immediate vicinity with a spray of spit.
Lovely, he thought, hopping from side-to-side like a chimp on burning coals. He then turned to his twin sister Daisy. “Wench,” he said with a huge grin. The cried when she punched him in the eye.
The shiner came up a real treat, with their dad saying it looked like a Salford sunset. Billy didn’t know about that. All he knew, is that it bloody hurt, and next time he would practice the word “Firkin” instead. But he did learn something new… That girls can punch.